Update: Local student gets coaching from NYC theater artists

sophia schwanerNew York City theater artists will be visiting Staunton to work with local student Sophia Schwaner on Sunday, Aug. 11 and Monday, Aug. 12.

Schwaner is a rising sophomore at Stuart Hall and one of six winners in the 2019 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge, a national contest for high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical. The Songwriting Challenge is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Theatre Wing.

The coaching team includes performer, composer/lyricist, and playwright Max Vernon and music director Benjamin Rauhala. Together, they will hone Schwaner’s winning song “At Sea” into a Broadway-ready composition.

Local chef and accomplished opera singer Camille Dierksheide will join the team to sing the song in the final rehearsal. The song is about a female commander/warrior who leads an army of men into a naval battle during the historic Persian war.

Schwaner participated in the Heifetz International Music Institute, played with the Waynesboro Symphony, and, this summer with funding from a successful GoFundMe campaign, was able to attend the Boston Conservatory at Berklee High School Composition Intensive.

Information about Schwaner’s song is in the Arts Endowment’s newsroom


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